Sept 20, Colombo: As envisioned in the budget- 2019 proposals by the Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera, the Cabinet of Ministers have approved the payment of an interim monthly allowance of Rs 6000.00 to the families of missing persons.
These persons also include the family members of the armed forces and the Police missing in action, the Finance Ministry said.
Across the island, in addition to heartbreak and trauma, the families of missing persons have been undergoing grave economic hardship due to the disappearance of their loved ones, in most cases the bread-winner of the family.
The Office on Missing Persons, in its interim report published in August 2018, had recommended providing interim relief to the families of missing persons who have Certificates of Absence. The 2019 Budget incorporated these recommendations.
Cabinet recently approved a joint cabinet memorandum from the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious affairs to provide interim relief as envisioned in the Budget.
The interim relief is a Rs. 6000 monthly bank deposit to the recipient of a Certificate of Absence. It will be provided until the newly established Office of Reparations provides compensation and other forms of reparation. Interim relief will also not be a waiver of the right to adequate, prompt and effective reparations to seek judicial remedies.
So-far 656 Certificates of Absence have been issued to the families of missing persons in both the North and the South, some of whom include the families of armed forces personnel who are missing in action.
In order to facilitate the speedy issuance of Certificates of Absence, Cabinet also approved the recruitment of additional officers to the Registrar Generalís Department on contract basis.